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WHEN YOU HAVE TO START OVER...

Fragrance has the power to transport us to times of heightened emotions: love, hate, joy, sadness, they're all there, encapsulated in a sense memory evoked by touch, taste, sight, hearing or ...smell. Whenever I smell Clarins Eau Dynamisante I am taken back to my days as a makeup assistant on feature films. My most beloved head of department, Anni Taylor, wore eau dynamisante. It was her signature scent. And I love it because of her. It takes me back to a time before I left...

Coming back to South Africa was an easy choice to be with my dad in, what I didn't know at the time, the last few months of his life. But I knew coming back would not be easy.
This was taken just weeks before we said goodbye... I miss him everyday

To go backwards is often necessary in order to go forward. I knew this. It was no sacrifice. I would have done anything to come home to my dad. But while I raised my sons on a tiny Scottish isle, so much had changed in the South African film industry. And coming back to that kind of humongous shift, was incredibly hard. I got lucky from the moment I arrived. I was even offered a fantastic job keying second unit on a job in Hungary... but Hungary...really?!? At the time my dad was in ICU. I knew I had to hold on to every moment with him. There was no way I would risk losing another minute. Within a month he was gone. My heart was broken. I could barely concentrate on day to day functions, and the politics of a long-form set became a trivial annoyance. I made the decision there and then: Stills! I would focus on stills.

For someone like me, who has grown up in the film industry, and mostly worked in some kind of long-form, to step away from film and commercials, and immerse myself in stills was going to be quite a feat. You can't just chop and change like that. Not in an industry that is all about word of mouth. Nobody knew me in stills. But my travels and work overseas in both cosmopolitan and exotic environments had given me an advantage: I could adapt. Like a cat, you have to be able to land on your feet in this industry. And I did.
one of the covers I did overseas

Some of my old clients remembered me...but many more didn't, because teams have changed, and most of the folks I worked with have either retired or ...died. True story. I turned 40 when I returned home, and when you're forty, and most of your competition is not, then you have to work twice as hard to be current, and to be more aware of trends than you've ever been before.

I started by doing what I knew: research. I researched trends, looks, moods, makeup, makeup styles, everything. That is fundamental. Know your market. Know what you're good at, and what you can offer. Now trust it. I know the kind of intense, yet outwardly polite competition that exists in our industry: it's there to keep you on your toes. But often times it may cause immense despair, and that is when you simply must trust your art. Do what you do best, because I can guarantee you that your skill is unique: no-one else sees what you see.
The year I got back, I was influenced by my experiences abroad: channeling trends that were about to burst onto the
South Afican fashion scene... #trust what you imagine

You're not going to get every job, darling, but you're going to get what you will be appreciated for, and remunerated for! And that's how we make a living. So  I'm wearing that Eau Dynamisante to remind me of how far I've come; how much I've learned, and how valuable my knowledge is. To remind me that every day is a gift, and there's no such thing as starting over... just re-aligning my focus. My sights are set.  And yes, I'm ready for season!

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